Keep Trying

Members of my career mentoring site know that I am a big believer in the power of persistence. I’m also a huge tennis fan. The two weeks surrounding Labor Day always find me watching as much of the US Open as I can.

I’m a Serena Williams fan and was rooting for her to win this year’s Open, completing a calendar Grand Slam, the first since Steffi Graf did it in 1988. Serena fell a little short, losing in the semi-finals to Roberta Vinci – who lost in the finals to Flavia Pennetta.

And this is where persistence comes in. Flavia Pennetta is 33, old for a professional tennis player. This year’s US Open was her 49th try at winning the singles title in a Grand Slam tournament. As she accepted the trophy, she announced her retirement – having said that she had decided about a month ago that the 2015 US Open would be her last tournament as a professional tennis player. How cool is that? Talk about going out as a winner.

Flavia Pennetta has played professional tennis for 18 years. She has won a Grand Slam doubles championship and has reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals in other Grand Slam events. But she never won a Grand Slam singles championship — until Saturday.

Reminds me of Calvin Coolidge’s famous quote…

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

At 33, Flavia Pennetta is not quite as talented a player as she used to be. But she is persistent. Recently, she has had to struggle with a wrist injury that knocked her out of the Top 10. But she persisted. And on Saturday, she finally won that elusive Grand Slam singles title. It was a pleasure to watch her cradle that trophy.

18 years on tour. 48 attempts at winning a Grand Slam before succeeding. Flavia Pennetta is persistence personified.

There is a career success message in all of this. Keep trying.

If you don’t get an interview with a company that you like, keep trying. If you don’t get the job after an interview, keep trying. If you don’t get the promotion you want, keep trying.

When you keep trying, you are demonstrating your persistence and determination – and as Calvin Coolidge says, persistence and determination are omnipotent.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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